Author Topic: Squamish Chief: Wrist Twister solo  (Read 3115 times)

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Offline YetAnotherDave

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Squamish Chief: Wrist Twister solo
« on: October 26, 2006, 09:55:05 am »
I almost didn't go...
 I'd booked the day off work when the weather report was saying "tuesday: sunny
 and 9 celsius".  When tuesday came one report said "heavy rain or snow" and the
 other said "chance of thundershower" - not exactly optimum climbing weather.
 The weather looked decent as the sun came up by my house, an hour's drive from
 the climb, so I decided to wait until the webcam came online to make my final
 decision.  Well, there were spots in the picture that looked kinda blue, and
 the sky didn't look too dark, so off I went.
 An hour later I'm carrying, hauling, and dragging my pig up the mud- and
 moss-filled south south gully.  This was definitely the least-fun part of my
 day.  It isn't raining (yet), but the humidity is so high that it takes a
 while after reaching the route for my glasses to defog enough to actually see
 where it goes :)
 I waffle about raingear for a bit, check the time, set my anchor, and off I go.
 Top-step off a rivet and then do a few hook moves to avoid some awkward-looking
 big-cam placements deep in a flaring crack.  Later I'll wished I'd placed
 the cams, it would have made hauling them up that damned gully less of a waste
 of effort - I wouldn't use anything bigger than a .75 camalot on the rest of the
 A small cam or two and another hook, and I'm at the bolt ladder.  Most of them
 have hangers, and several are even new stainless bolts!  Luxury!  Clip a bolt,
 squeeze the gri-gri for slack while climbing the aider, repeat.  Starting to
 almost get smooth at this...  A few offset aliens, a long reach to the first of
 a line of fixed heads, and I'm at the first anchor.  Fix the ropes, rap, hunt
 unsuccessfully for the rap anchor that's supposed to be down and north of the
 starting platform, back to the start of the pitch.  The transition was a bit
 messy, but probably only wasted a minute or two.
 Cleaning is fast, and after re-stuffing my rope bag I'm off on pitch 2.  This is
 the crux pitch (today, at least) as there's a long-ish section of blown heads.
 I try a few other options first, but what gets me by is hooking the top of the
 deadheads with small beaks, gently tapped in to seat them.  This is a technique
 I've only read about, so I'm a little sketched out, but it works OK.  Bolts and
 hooks from here to the next station.  It's raining pretty hard when I hit the
 next station, and I ponder bailing, but I really want to finish this route solo,
 and I really don't want to haul all this gear up the gully again by myself, so
 I fix ropes, rap back to the anchor, and dig out my raincoat.  This was my
 grandfather's coat, and putting it on makes me think of him.  I feel a little
 more reassured now, and ready for the last pitch.  My friend Brock mentioned
 that he'd encountered some pretty runout hooking on the last pitch, and I've
 been a little nervous about it all day, but I'm ready to try it now.
 Cleaning is quick again (hooks and lots of fixed gear make this pretty painless)
 and my transition to leading is quicker this time.  The sun has come back as I
 start up pitch 3, but a light drizzle sets in as I get to the copperhead
 section.  This one is given the same grade as the one on pitch 2 (C2+) but the
 heads are in better shape here, and there are decent cam and nut placements
 between them.  Very clear rainbow below me, looks like it's starting in the
 Chief parking lot.  Looks like little puffy clouds too, as the drizzle steams up
 off the trees.  Quite lovely, really, too bad I didn't bring a camera.  It's a
 line of bolts, dowels, and bathooks to the top now.  I've never weighted
 bathooks or dowels before, and I'm a bit unsure about them.  The hooks are
 pretty good, really, but some of the dowels are pretty smooth, and I move very
 carefully to keep my cinched-down stoppers from sliding off.  I wonder if real
 rivet-hangers would be better here?
 The rock rounds out as it nears the top, and the last few moves look like they'd
 be easy slab climbing if they weren't covered in wet moss.  As it is I'm
 practically prone on the rock while bathooking.  The sun peeks thru as I step
 from the last bolt to the finishing ledge, another lovely moment.  I'm warm and
 (mostly) dry, so I take a few minutes to enjoy the view before I start rapping
 The first three raps go smoothly, and I find the rap "station" I'd missed
 earlier - a few slings around a nice big tree.  Lots of shrubbery to go through,
 though, so I stuff the ropes in the ropebag and hang it from my donut before I
 start rapping.  This takes a few minutes, but the rap is snagless despite much
 vertical bushwhacking.
 I retrieve my pig, restuff it, and make my way back to the van.  Five and a half
 hours car to car, a little over 3 hours climbing.  Not bad for me, certainly not
 a speed record.  Call my wife to let her know I'm down safely, and head back to
 Vancouver under brilliant sunshine.

Offline the_dude

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Re: Squamish Chief: Wrist Twister solo
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2006, 10:28:42 am »
Nice! Sounds like a great day out. Maybe a bit wet.

Offline freakshow

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Re: Squamish Chief: Wrist Twister solo
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2006, 05:08:45 pm »
Nice work man.  Way to keep at it in spite of the weather....there's always a hundred and one reasons to bail when soloing.

Three hours on the rock isn't bad at all for those pitches.  You're halfway to the speed record of 1:45!

Is that hangerless bolt still on P1?  The one that shifts downward when weighted and looks like it came out of a chevy motor?  I remember being a bit freaked clipping that one.

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: Squamish Chief: Wrist Twister solo
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2006, 05:14:16 pm »
Is that hangerless bolt still on P1?  ... I remember being a bit freaked clipping that one.
There's one really crappy hangerless bolt low on the P1 ladder.  I wouldn't have minded it so much if it'd been a little further off the ground, but...

Not as bad as the rusty timebombs on Ten Years After, but at least they're above a nice clean fall.